Clarum Homes, whatever are they? Not to worry, for there are four of them rising where Marlou and I once eyeballed a single home, one that had a sort of apartment unit over its garage. And we kept wondering, or Marlou did, what would happen if the asking price dropped substantially below $1.2 million, we dropped our retirement savings into the property, rented the apartment unit for the maximum…. Couples need such conjectures, I have learned. With any luck, they dream more broadly. Good to see that Messrs Clarum have gotten on with it, crowding four overpriced hunks of architecture into the space of one. It’s all happening in the background, making it easy to miss, while impossible to avoid. The background is displacing the foreground, these days.
I am heading lunchward, hoping to forget the morning. Although I can feel its tensions in my shoulder. A series of physical medicine types have explained this to me. Why my shoulder absorbs the tension of the moment. The scapula drawing up and pinching the thingy, as they say in physical medicine. Tension. It’s enough to be aware of it, too much to avoid it, impossible to control it. I’m failing in the Anger Management department, a dunce. Which seems to reach a certain peak in the mornings.
Which for 43 years of disabled life have featured glycerin suppositories. No need going into the details. In fact, they are hardly necessary. Put the body mechanics together. A person with one functioning hand, low on feeling. A body that is increasingly stiff. And the morning necessity to get small, slippery items inside oneself. After substantially more than four decades, I am not squeamish about this, only private. The essential fact is that this task requires one additional and supremely important factor. Relaxation. The latter is not exactly my forte. And on days of sufficient spilkes, it is utterly absent.
These days, for example. An operation that might normally take, say, two minutes can require, as it did this morning, more than an hour. Characterized by mounting fury, which results in mounting tension, which defeats the very exercise. And remember, the day, what people normally think of as the day, has not begun. Life, in such moments, has not begun. I have not begun. And now I 64, I am ending. The thought progression moves swiftly along these lines. No, it’s not a pretty picture.
And yet it depicts something. Later in the morning, having barely got the morning ablutions complete before Menchu arrives on behalf of Team Filipina, and after a hour-long exercise sprint on the carport machine, I wander outside. To the garden, of course. To stare into the thickness of steer manure and admire the green crop rising. It is the most reassuring spot in my life, these days. Lettuce to the left of me, spinach to the right, into the Valley of Rebirth rode I. From wheelchair height, one can see what’s happening. A lone brussels sprout is mistakenly appearing among the red leaf lettuce sprouts. This is errant and wrong and will be corrected, I know. They are all wrong, the brussels sprouts, time and experience has shown, and yet what is wrong, no one can say. And might just as easily become right. In any case, it is growing, this garden, the brown stalks of last year’s tomatoes cracking, readily splintering, all but dust, at this stage. A light tap with a trowel on a twig of dead vine has the approximate effect of a tyrannosaurus stepping on a log.
And that’s just on the surface, of course. Underground, under the manure layer, decomposition is roaring, the Kentucky red worms FedExed into place years ago now churning their way through decomposing ryegrass, fava beans, yes, tomato vines, and what’s left of broccoli grown during Marlou’s life. And what’s left of Marlou. Some of her ashes reside here. Where exactly being a matter of some dispute. I think the spinach leaves have absorbed her ashes. As I say, it’s all happening in the garden.
And after 43 years with a disability, things are getting harder. Not that they weren’t before, but age is taking its toll. As it is meant to. A process like the one under way in my garden. Which frightens me. The prospect of losing more neuromuscular ground, growing even more dependent on others. Noticing how things are getting harder just at the moment when the contrast could not be greater. Lulling, nurturing days and nights in a Hawaiian hotel, waking at the approximate rate the sun does. Jane around, loving and helping. Then back to life, normal life, where things are a little more as they are. The net result being another move towards acceptance, letting go, acknowledging loss. And acknowledging anger. I am so fucking pissed off that a bad thing can, and will, get worse. That I have to get worse. Loss upon loss. And yet, the only way forward, is forward. The thing never to lose is one’s way.